In my last blog about taking a fall walk, we reviewed how breaks can be productive and promote creativity. However, longer breaks, such as holiday breaks can be challenging if you don’t have a strategy for you and your child to avoid dreading the first day back. Try these 3 steps – Prepare, enjoy, and motivate. These simple tactics can make the return to work easier for you and your child.
Return from Winter Break Energized and Refreshed
First, be sure to prepare for the first day back before the break begins. On your last day of work or school, make a small, bullet point list to of what your child is studying and any tasks he or she needs to finish before going back. Fun tasks can go on this list, too. For instance, any books, movies, or games the child wants to try before going back could be bullet points on the list. After all, the goal is to not only keep track of where the student was with school work but also to be sure he or she completes anything that needs done during break. That includes fun!
Once the list is complete, make a copy to post on the fridge at home or take a picture of it. Leave the original on the desk where the child works. This will help the child remember where he or she left off and also help you keep track of progress.
Next, enjoy your winter break!. Mindy Zetlin from Inc.com gives sound advice in her article How to Make the Best Use of Your Holiday Break . Zeltlin says one should…
- unplug from work;
- get plenty of sleep;
- try a new skill;
- do something memorable;
- spend time with family, friends, or community; and
- enjoy yourself (i.e. create happiness).
That goes for both you and your children. For the kids, you can get them out of their normal routine by scheduling a play date or by taking them to a place the family can’t typically visit while school is in session. Give them extra time to play with presents or friends, or plan fun outings or activities for the whole family. And, of course, make sure they get plenty of rest, as well.
The solution to returning from a winter break can be boiled down to one specific issue – finding motivation. Once you have found your motivation for returning after a break, the process gets easier.
Use Your List
Sometimes, just getting started is the hardest step. Pull out your child’s task list (or photo of it) a few days in advance to help you remember where he or she stopped before the break. That gives you time to remind the student of any tasks that still need finished before break is over, to go over what the child had learned just before break, and time to schedule any of those fun activities that haven’t been done yet.
It also helps you both to build anticipation for the going back to school. Children need some awareness about the coming transition, and that awareness doesn’t have to be all negative. Try counting down the days with your child so they are aware that the holiday break is about to end. Remind them about their teacher and classmates a few days ahead of time, including more exciting aspects. For example, your child might be excited to tell the teacher and friends what he or she did over the break. Maybe, he or she wants to show off new clothes, take a new gift to show and tell, or return to the friends and class.
If these motivation ideas aren’t working, try mindfulness for you and your child. If you aren’t familiar with mindfulness, it is the latest wave of meditation exercise that incorporates being intentional and purposeful in behavior to be calmer and effective. Craig Hassed, an associate professor and mindfulness coordinator at Monash University, defines mindfulness as “awareness and paying attention to being in the moment.” This works for both adults and children. Jo Trilling of abc.net wrote Back-to-School Mindless Transition from Holiday to Classroom.
One last tip: on the day before the first day back, plan for the day. Get prepared the night before by packing your child’s lunch, planning his or her outfit, and getting a good night’s sleep. Or, if the child is older, encourage him or her to do these steps without help. Use the holiday break as an opportunity to step away from the rigors of work and school while embracing more time for family and fun, so that by the end, your child can return ready to be more productive and creative.
How do you get your child ready to go back from break?
Author: Traci King, Marketing Assistant at A Grade Ahead